I've had it with the anti-vaxxers
Anti-vaxxers and the vaccine-hesitant are holding back the country.

I'VE had it with the anti-vaxxers. They live in a world which they themselves have created.

They seem oblivious to the fact that people are dying around them. And, even when loved ones have gone and they experience pain, they continue to believe the most preposterous ideas and will pursue the most ridiculous treatments until it is too late.

I think that what we call an education system is partially at fault. How can you explain the large number of nurses and transport operators who simply refuse to take the jab? When taxi drivers in Linstead oppose mandatory vaccination and declare that they don't know of any taxi driver who has contracted COVID-19, or has died of it, what can we say? Are they going to wait until somebody they know gets it and dies? Furthermore, they don't read, except for the unsubstantiated claims making the rounds on social media.

I believe that all health workers, all teachers, all members of the security forces, all transport operators, all people who interact with others should be vaccinated. In brief, all of us should be vaccinated. A health worker who refuses to be vaccinated ought to have his or her head examined.

What irks me, as well, is that there are so many “doctas” around. The Jamaica Teachers' Association is in favour of accepting unvaccinated students in face-to-face classes and doesn't believe that teachers should be mandated to take the vaccine. The Nurses Association of Jamaica also believes that its members should not be mandated to get the jab. And the Opposition seemingly believes that we should return to face-to-face classes ASAP. What is wrong with these people?

I would hazard a guess that some hesitant nurses would get vaccinated if they could get jobs in First World countries. How hypocritical!

Can the Ministry of Education stop issuing proposed dates for a return to face-to-face instruction? Comparatively few people like online instruction, but we have to grin and bear it. Remember how people in the entertainment business clamoured for the reopening of the sector? Do we remember what happened?

Let me also address the matter of leaving it up to people's free will. I don't intend to go into an ideological debate, but what I know is that there have been over 716,000 COVID-19-related deaths in the United States, 601,000 in Brazil, 451,000 in India and, let's not forget, over 2,025 in Jamaica. In fact, over 4.55 million people worldwide have lost their lives, my dear compatriots.

According to a Don Anderson poll, 60 per cent of Jamaicans are not in favour of taking the vaccine and 70 per cent are not in favour of mandatory vaccination. The truth is, if some people were to have their way we would still be using leaded petrol and we wouldn't have automated banking machines (ABMs). Not long ago, some people demonstrated in Portmore, declaring: “We prefer to join the line than go online.”

People don't mind holding back the country as long as they have their way. What these people don't realise is that we are at war, albeit against an invisible enemy. When we are at war, we must think of our patria, Jamaica. Some people are being downright unpatriotic due to ignorance and selfishness.

We don't know our history. We don't know about World War II and how Jamaicans fought for the motherland – Great Britain – on the beaches of Normandy and engaged in bombing expeditions over Germany. Those who were here endured nightly curfews, enforced by soldiers, and lights out at a certain time. We were at war. Most of us are unaware of the country's fight against cholera, malaria, smallpox, polio, and tuberculosis (TB). And, we never had social media.

We never had to fight for our Independence with blood, sweat, and tears. It is not sufficient to be Jamaican during World Cup qualifiers, the summer Olympics, or World Athletics Championships. I really believe that, if we were invaded by a foreign power, most of us would just twiddle our thumbs and do absolutely nothing.

And now here we are, as a country, going through perhaps our greatest crisis in recent time and a lot of people are chatting foolishness. Meanwhile, we are nowhere near achieving the target of 65 per cent of the population being fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 will be with us for at least another year. If we continue to behave as we do, it could be even longer. Anti-vaxxers and the vaccine-hesitant, you are holding back the country.

It is not fair for the wilfully unvaccinated to enjoy the same benefits that I do. It is not fair for the unvaccinated to expose the vaccinated.

It is irresponsible of church members to decide that their sanctuary is large enough so they need not mask up. It is irresponsible of churches to allow more than the regulated number in the sanctuary. It is irresponsible for officers of the church/members of the church board to sit maskless in the sanctuary.

The prime minister needs to act quickly and decisively, even at the risk of losing an election. The Opposition needs to support the Government on this one, but too many people are playing to the gallery.

This country could achieve so much, but we are our own worst enemy.

Norman W M Thompson


According to a Don Andersonpoll, 60 per cent of Jamaicansare not in favour of taking thevaccine and 70 per cent arenot in favour of mandatoryvaccination.

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